Rip Tide--Kat Falls
May 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children's Books
What Ty isn't prepared to find in the deep is an entire township chained to a sunken submarine, its inhabitants condemned to an icy underwater grave. It's only the first clue to a mystery that has claimed hundreds of lives and stands to claim two more -- lives very precious to Ty and his Topsider ally, Gemma.
Now in a desperate race against the clock, Ty and Gemma find themselves in conflict with outlaws, Seaguard officers, and the savage, trident-wielding surfs -- plus a menagerie of the most deadly creatures the ocean has to offer.
Kat Falls brings to life the mysteries, marvels, and monsters of the deep in this fast-paced and inventive action-adventure.
Rip Tide is the sequel to Dark Life, which I really enjoyed reading this summer. I was disappointed through the first third or so of Rip Tide because it wasn't living up to the standard Dark Life had set, but fear not--the book gets better as it goes on.
Rip Tide is just as action-packed as its predecessor. Dark Life begins with a shark attack in paragraph two. Rip Tide shows a bit of restraint and waits all the way until page four or five before setting a squid on us. While the first book sometimes feels like no more than one escape after the other, Rip Tide has a more developed, intricate, mystery-driven plot. Ty is more proactive and the plot ends up being better for that.
I love the setting of these books. With the rise of the oceans and flooding of the land, most of the world's population lives in stacked, UV-scorched cities; but Falls puts her characters in the deep sea as pioneers with a bit of sci-fi technology. We still get the Firefly vibe in this book, though not as strongly--no Reavers this time around. [Side note. If you haven't checked out Firefly yet, do. Space cowboys!] Falls' books just have that rough-and-tough, independent, tame-the-land feeling, complete with the good-hearted settler, the vigilante sheriff, the crooked smuggler, the town mayor, etc. It's a western, but underwater. I realize it sounds kind of weird, but it's good.
The main characters/good guys aren't developed much (typical teenage boy protagonist, determined, good at heart, a bit naive), but Falls does a great job with her villains. We never really know where Shade is. Fife is the sleazy showman that you can't underestimate. Radder is the dumb,brute strength with a twist. However, Captain Reavus' character felt a bit contrived.
Even though these books are part of a series, the plots of each book stand alone rather than forming one huge story arc. Little in this book depends on you having already read Dark Life. I appreciate series like this. We aren't left with a stupid cliffhanger designed to make us buy the next book. It's just a satisfying story.
I like the reader for this audio book. Keith Nobbs fits Ty's voice well. He occasionally struggles with dialogue a bit, especially with differentiating Ty's voice from Gemma's, so it's sometimes hard to tell who's talking. But aside from that, it was a good listening experience.
One other teeny tiny complaint. I don't want Ty to die, but a salt water crocodile will ALWAYS win in a fight against a human.
All in all, Rip Tide is a great book, especially if you're looking for something a bit different in the flood of post-apocalypse novels.